Palazzo Abatellis is in the historical center of Palermo. It is an ancient building of the fifteenth century, in Catalan Gothic style, former residence of Francesco Abatellis.
The works in this Gallery belongs to the culture of western Sicily from the 12th to the 17th century and are the result of donations and acquisitions. They include famous masterpieces like “The “Virgin Annunciate” by Antonello da Messina.
The “Virgin Annunciate” is perhaps the most famous of the Sicilian painter’s works and it dates back to Antonello’s stay in Venice, around 1475.
Antonello da Messina wanted to represent the moment in which the Virgin looks up from her prayer book and welcomes the announcement of the angel by raising her hand: a very young woman, with refined features, deep black eyes, a face of disarming purity, that sinks her magnetic gaze into the void, in front of her, towards an indefinite point.
Antonello focuses on the sacred event and on its psychological effects on the Virgin.
Once again Antonello mixes the elements of Italian and Flemish painting: the perspective, the regular geometric shapes, the perfectly oval face of the Virgin are elements of Italian painting while the dark background, the light and shadows that bring out the face of Mary, the palm of her hand and her nails, are typical elements of Flemish painting. The use of oil colors allows the artist to better create these effects of light and to give movement to a static image through imperceptible movements such as the hand that is raised or the pages of the book moved by a breath of air that reveal the presence of the angel.